As a cat owner, you keep your feline friend healthy in every way you can. You attend regular checkups with your veterinarian, get your feline’s vaccinations, and give him deworming pills.
These are all well-understood veterinary practices that are easy enough to follow. However, not every pet owner takes the risk of Lyme disease seriously.
In cats, Lyme disease is very rare but can still have severe consequences if you don’t handle it properly.
You may be wondering:
- What exactly is Lyme disease?
- How is it transmitted?
- What are the symptoms?
- Should I be concerned about it affecting my cat?
- Are there any ways to prevent it?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about this condition in felines.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a condition that affects animals and humans. If left untreated, it can affect the host’s joints and central nervous system.
At least four different species of ticks can transmit Lyme disease. However, the most common one is by far the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick.
Deer ticks themselves don’t cause Lyme disease. Rather, they transmit the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that causes it. If a deer tick doesn’t carry these bacteria, it cannot pass Lyme disease to an animal or human.
However, as many as half of all adult ticks carry this bacteria in some areas in the U.S. This is why you must implement preventative measures for both yourself and your pets.
Start by knowing common facts about ticks:
- These arachnids tend to prefer animals like deer and mice, but they will certainly feed on domestic animals if given the opportunity.
- These pests are most likely to look for a host in the spring or fall in their adult form. In their immature nymph form, ticks are most likely to feed on an animal during the summer.
- When it comes to Lyme disease in domestic animals, the condition is much more common in dogs. However, cats are not immune to becoming infected.
- Once they have your cat on their radar, ticks will climb through their fur and onto their skin. A tick can attach itself to your cat and bite. If the arachnid is infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, it will spread Lyme disease within 24 hours of the tick bite.
What Are The Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Cats?
If they are infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, cats normally don’t show Lyme disease symptoms. Unlike humans, they normally do not present a rash at the site of the tick bite.
With this in mind, there are some other symptoms and signs of Lyme disease that your feline may display: